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Re: Patron Saint (?) of Scribes

Yaakov asked:
> (who is patron saint of scribes anyway?).

Oh, oh!  I know I read that one!
Paraphrased (i.e. I may make typing errors) from Marc Drogin's
Medieval Calligraphy... (Wonderful book!)

Other crafts have thier masters, other arts their patron saints, but
only calligraphers can claim a patron demon.  The following account of
that singlular medieval devil, Titivillus, is based on meager scraps
of written record pasted together with liberal amounts of presumption.

Titivillus was born in the minds of medieval monks - created in jest
to make a serious point.  The repetitiveness of monastic life took its
toll.  Monks would occasionally cease to pay precise attention and
words were mutilated, misspelled, and misplaced.  Monks had to be
reminded of the sin of inattentiveness.  The earliest recorded mention
of Titivillus by name appeared c. 1285 in John Wales' Tractatus de
Penitentia.  And the comment about him was repeated in the next
century, when, in sermon, Petrus de Palude, Patriarch of Jerusalem
commented [...] that Titivillus collects bits of the psalms.  Slipping
about unseen he listened for each and every verbal atrocity that
occurred in the services.  But the monds deplored copying and writing
errors as much as those in reading and singing.  While no record of
his interest in scribal errors was found until the 15th century, it is
logical to assume that he may have followed the monds from service to
see what was amiss in the scriptorium.

[..skipping down the page ...]
But the devil must have his due.  At some point in the 15th century it
dawned on him that a clever devil should be easily able to entice
scribes into doubling, tripling, quadrupling clerical errors.  And he
wasted no time putting is plan to work.

Soon he was sacking sins as in earlier centuries.  The scribes,
overwoorked by the incredible demands put on them by the
universities' need for text, disclaimed responsibility for the errors
in the manuscripts they had to rush to produce.  Titivillus, they
said, had tempted them to err.  And Titivillus, acknowledged as the
cause of their errata, became a patron rather than a pest since he
absolved them of guilt.


There is more, and it is all footnoted extensively...

And if anyone is worried about poor Titivillus, fear not - for I have
it on good authority that his is now working hard at a well known
Washington based software company...

              Razmus d'Obscurite [AKA: the Innocent]
               AKA: Rich Weissler [azrael@access.digex.com]
                And as for the color of my toothbrush, 
                 its none of your business.
                                    -Alli Hobbes (1995)